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Stropharia ambigua

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Strophariaceae > Stropharia . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

The folks on the West Coast are bored with Stropharia ambigua, but for a Midwesterner on a winter (!) mushroom vacation it's about the coolest thing going. It's huge, bright yellow, slimy, and adorned with drooping white partial veil remnants. What more could you ask for in a mushroom?

So when my California friends tell me that Stropharia ambigua is a mushroom "weed" in coastal areas, I compare it with the thoroughly non-thrilling Stropharia hardii, which is the closest look-alike back east, and I wish that Hamlet had been right, and that the whole world could be "an unweeded mushroom garden, grown to seed." Yeah, I threw a word in there.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone or gregariously on woody debris in conifer and (sometimes) hardwood forests; fall through spring; West Coast.

Cap: 3-15 cm; convex, becoming broadly convex or flat; slimy; yellow to yellowish brown or pale yellow; smooth; the margin adorned with hanging white partial veil remnants.

Gills: Attached to the stem or beginning to pull away from it; close; pale gray at first, later purplish gray to purple-black; with whitish edges when mature.

Stem: 6-18 cm long; up to 2 cm thick; equal; dry; with a ring or ring zone; smooth above the ring and finely shaggy below it; base often with mycelial threads.

Flesh: White; thick.

Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.

Spore Print: Dark purple-brown to blackish.

Chemical Reactions: KOH on cap surface pale orange.

Microscopic Features: Spores 11-14 x 6-7.5 µ; smooth; elliptical; with a germ pore. Chrysocystidia present.

REFERENCES: (Peck, 1898) Zeller, 1914. (Saccardo, 1902; Stamets, 1978; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Arora, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992.) Herb. Kuo 01130523.

Further Online Information:

Stropharia ambigua at MykoWeb
Stropharia ambigua at Roger's Mushrooms


Stropharia ambigua

Stropharia ambigua

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Kuo, M. (2005, January). Stropharia ambigua. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: